What does it meant to be pure? For many people of faith, the purity of an individual is largely determined by their success in abstaining from sex until marriage. This is one of the key tenants of the increasingly popular Purity Movement of the 1990's, and lays the foundation for the enlightening and alternatively amusing and harrowing new feature-length documentary Give Me Sex Jesus.
"How can we purify the world of sin?" asks R. Marie Griffith, PhD, a professor at Washington University, author of Christians, Sex and Politics and a featured interview subject in the film. Many Evangelicals believe that the key to living a pure life is to refrain from any form of sexual relations until marriage. The film consists of a series of revealing and brutally confessional interviews related to every facet of this belief - from the people who strictly adhere to this religious mandate without hesitation or regret to those who have felt shamed, ostracized and tortured by what they view as an unrealistic commandment.
The Evangelical Purity Movement enjoyed a resurrection on the heels of the AIDS crisis. The movement involves the preaching of abstinence prior to marriage, a view that believers celebrate and promote as the word of God. Give Me Sex Jesus includes a host of insights from those who lend their full-throated support behind the movement. For them, abstinence from impure thought and action not only shows respect for religious doctrine, but ultimately leads to a more fulfilling and productive life.
Meanwhile, detractors of the movement find disgrace in the movement's instruction. They believe that its teachings inspire shame in the face of natural, universally shared urges and needs, and that this shame can often inflict irreversible damage upon one's mental and physical health. The issue is further complicated by factors such as pornography, or the devastation incurred by homosexuals who feel pressured to alter their identities in order to conform to constrictive religious teachings.
By offering a wide variance of viewpoints, the film provides an in-depth and thoughtful investigation of sex in our modern society, and how it is interpreted through the prism of morality and faith.